We decided to leave the city and head into the mountains for a change of scenery. Not only was there a change of scenery, but also language (an eclectic mix between French and Italian, as we near France’s boarder) and temperature (I was wearing 3 layers, top and bottom). After about 45 minutes of mountain driving, (and only 1 wrong turn) we arrived in the valley bellow the small town of Valle D’Aosta. This destination is said to be the only European mountain town not accessible by car. Instead, one takes a gondola. OR, in our case, by hiking. When I found out we could make the assent by foot, there was no choice to be made. In my family, when it comes to anything ‘outdoorsy’, you always take the difficult path, strictly it seems, to have a good story when it’s finally over. And in this venture, we succeeded. After directions from the gondola operator, and a less than encouraging “good luck”, we began the climb. Within less than 5 vertical minutes, we were both out of breath, gasping on a rock on the side of the trail. One Twix later, we continued on, stopping often for pictures or to cautiously sip our 1 bottle of water (I’ll never learn). Luckily, the beginning was the most difficult part, and though it never was a flat hike it did have moments of less vertical, making it almost enjoyable. By the time a woman in her 40s literally ran by us in her mini-shorts, we had no more excuses and trekked the last 3 miles up. Of course, once we reached the top is was completely worth the effort. We strolled the mini town, grabbed sandwiches, and enjoyed the view. It reminded me of The Sound of Music, with the meadows, goats, and colorful gardens..
Although taking the gondola down was one of the best decisions of the day, I can’t wait to return and explore further.. “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson